Picard, Leo Yehuda

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PICARD, LEO YEHUDA (1900–1996), Israeli geologist. Born in Konstanz, Germany, he earned his Ph.D. in geology from the University of Freiburg (1923). After a period of study at the University of Florence, he immigrated to Palestine in 1924. After initial employment by the Keren Kayemet, in 1925 he joined the staff of the Natural History Department of the newly founded Hebrew University of Jerusalem as the sole geologist among the three young staff members supervised by Otto *Warburg. During the period of this appointment he carried out research in Paris (1926) and, supported by the Royal Society, at Imperial College, University of London where he obtained his D.Sc. He returned to the Hebrew University where he was appointed lecturer (1934), head of the department of geology (1936), and professor in 1939. When Picard arrived in Palestine, Jerusalem was the only area in the country that had been fully surveyed. He carried out the first geological surveys of the Jezreel valley (the "Emek") and Haifa region and contributed to the first study of the mineral deposits of the Judean Desert. He later directed the comprehensive geological survey of Israel (1950–54). In addition to his general geological skills, he had special expertise in surveys for petrochemical and water resources. He also carried out research and teaching in paleontology. He played a major part in organizing the study and teaching of geology and geography after the establishment of the state and in insisting on high academic standards. There was great national and international demand for his services, and he made geological surveys for governments and organizations throughout the world including Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. He also served as chairman or adviser on many national and international committees including unesco, the un, and geological conferences, especially those concerned with the problems of arid regions. His publications on basic and applied geology were universally recognized for their research and educational distinction. His many awards included the Israel Prize for natural sciences (1958), election to the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities (1961), and membership in many national geological societies.

[Michael Denman (2nd ed.)]